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I love design and I do this job and the show because I love what I do

Ireland’s favourite television Architect Dermot Bannon talks to Build & Renovate

Story Highlights
  • “We have demanded that our homes become multi-functional over the last couple of years.”
  • “A house does need to have one or two quiet rooms or a space where you can go by yourself just for head space.”
  • “I want to walk beside Charlie and offer my support.”

Ireland’s most popular television architect Dermot Bannon is going to be back on our television screens with the brand new series of ‘Room to Improve,’ from Sunday, 27th February.

“I’m very excited about the new series of ‘Room to Improve,’ but I’m also nervous. The show aired every single year pre the pandemic for a number of years, I worked through the projects and it was always a fairly difficult rollercoaster, we got the projects finished and the show went to air. I might have a week off and then I would be back working on projects for the next series of the show, it was a constant moving battle,’’ said Dermot Bannon.

“With the pandemic, everything slowed down and I had a chance to think and re-organise my thoughts as well doing some soul searching. A lot of the time I was busy but I was busy working on other people’s deadlines, the pandemic allowed me to slow down a little bit as construction sites were shut and we couldn’t make television shows as we couldn’t go into people’s homes.

“I love design and I do this job and the show because I love what I do. I want to be excited by design and I hope there is a freshness with this series of the show because they feel a little bit more relaxed and maybe not as manic as they were before. I’m really happy with the new series,’’ enthused Mr Bannon.

In terms of some of the projects we can expect to see in this series?

“The first four episodes have a very different theme. One of the episodes is seeing how a house can perform best for three children, one of whom has autism, another episode will see a family move into the family home of one of the clients and seeing how you can transform a house from the 1970’s and bring it up to 2022, there’s also an old bungalow in Howth with a young family moving into it, the house wasn’t touched in 40 years and that project was about making it energy efficient, sustainable and suitable for contemporary life.

“For a long time, people were obsessed with magazines, Instagram and the look of a house and that has been so tested over the last couple of years and now it is about how the house functions which has always been a priority for me. We have demanded that our homes become multi-functional over the last couple of years.

“Nurturing a home and having a space where everyone can be together is going to be huge over the next few years. People didn’t miss having the big dinner parties or showing off the aesthetics of their home, they missed having people in their house for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

We have an open plan house and throughout the pandemic, the three kids hung out in their different spaces and I would have dreaded it if they were in their bedrooms all day every day. A house does need to have one or two quiet rooms or a space where you can go by yourself just for head space,’’ he added.

As well as being a busy Architect and family man, Dermot is about to embark on climbing Croagh Patrick on Saturday, 2nd April with the renowned Broadcaster Charlie Bird who is battling Motor Neurone Disease.

‘Climb with Charlie,’ is a charity hike or walk which will in turn raise funds for The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association,’ and ‘Pieta House.’

I knew Charlie from the television growing up but I never knew him personally. When I saw him on ‘The Late Late Show,’ in December I thought he was amazing and I was in tears watching him. I climbed Croagh Patrick last summer, I headed off with the kids one morning and it (the hike) was horrendous! It’s hard getting up but it’s twice as hard coming down.

“As soon as RTÉ mentioned doing the hike I said that I would love to do it as I want to walk beside Charlie and offer my support. What really moved me about Charlie was not only his own story and what he is going through but how he is reaching out to anyone in his situation and offering the hand of friendship and solidarity,” imparted Dermot.

When it comes to the future?
“I spent a good chunk of time in my career working and the pandemic has taught me to not necessarily step back but realise that there are other priorities in life that I neglected so I’m trying to work on them now instead of always being focused on projects and getting them finished.

“I want to really stretch myself with designs and put myself out of my comfort zone. I want to spend time working on projects that will rip the heart and soul out of me just like when I was in college but when I look at the end result, I will be able to feel every step of that journey.

“There are always things that I want to develop next when it comes to both my career and personal life,’’ finished Dermot Bannon.

*Room to Improve airs Sundays at 21.30 on RTÉ One & RTÉ Player.
*A special word of thanks goes to Linda Pototzki in the RTÉ Press Office for her assistance in organising the interview with Dermot.
Words: Emer KellyImages: RTÉ Press Office

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